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Old 10-16-2012, 10:56 PM   #1
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Joined: Sep 2009
From: Spokane, Wa

I Ride: Yamaha R6
School me on Downshifting
So as my quest for quicker laptimes continues, i find that the weakest part of my track skills are setting up for a corner. one track day i practiced revmatching and got it down but after being followed by faster racer friends i was encouraged to just abuse the slipper that my r6 has. Indeed that did simplify things and my corner setups were faster but still feel slow. i watched a onboard lap with Josh hayes on his r1 and i am amazed at how fast he downshifts. obviously he is light years above my skill level but is he really revmatching that fast? going clutchless?

School me

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Old 10-16-2012, 11:19 PM   #2
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Joined: Oct 2007
From: Miles from here

I Ride: badly
I think Josh might have better tires, suspension, brakes, chassis, gearbox, clutch and a larger displacement than your R6 but that would be a wild guess. he might also have a little bit of skill and practice at this game

I am not fast so don't listen to me or read beyond this point. What I have noticed at trackdays is that the last of the late brakers are really smooth on the brakes. When I try to downshift hard the backend of the bike feels really unstable on an inline 4 but never out of control, on a big twin the engine braking is to be used with respect. Both of mine are minus a slipper, if your clutch is setup not to lockup the rear and you don't mind abusing the engine go for it

NB: On a modern sportsbike the vast majority of braking when in a straight line is on the front tire.

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Old 10-16-2012, 11:37 PM   #3
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Joined: Sep 2009
From: Spokane, Wa

I Ride: Yamaha R6
oh i understand completely the bike diferences. Also i never touch the rear brake. just seeing what tips and tricks everyone else is doing or if i just need to practice more. The one technique i have never been able to wrap my head around is blipping while hard on the front lever.

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Old 10-17-2012, 12:00 AM   #4
Chicken Strips
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Joined: Jan 2011
From: Portland, Oregon

I Ride: 2002 honda 919/cb900f/hornet: the REAL naked bike....
I shift down as my speed drops due to braking. Pay attention to the engine, find that sweet spot where the engine easily shifts down without losing too much rpm but still allows you to use engine braking at the same time as soon as you let out the clutch.

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Old 10-17-2012, 01:37 AM   #5
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Joined: Apr 2012
From: Oak Harbor

I Ride: 00 RC51 #1119 / 97 CBR 600 F3
As far as the track and downshifting I have pondered the same thing. The best answer I found was on "Twist of The Wrist 2" They explained it very well (Simultaneous Braking hard on the front while blipping the throttle and downshifting) ultimately its something that just takes lots of practice (on the track). If you watch racing, they all do it and there is no way around it if you want to be any good. As with anything you want to master, just have good form and technique, take your time and do it right. it will come. ON the street, I never touch the rear brake. I hardly brake at all unless I'm coming to a stop. I downshift to slow down or lose speed. NOt saying thats right or not but I have seen people clutch in and brake to a stop at a redlight from 5th or 6th gear and not downshift. right as they stop or almost stop the light turns green. Cars are coming and now they can't go anywhere until they find first . Or the bike stalls out cause they panic. Disaster!!!

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Old 10-17-2012, 04:03 AM   #6
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Joined: Mar 2006
From: spokane, wa

I Ride: 2013 Gasgas 300xc w/lic plate + 1985 RZ350 + 2010 YZ250F +
I would just abuse the slipper. It's a tool, so put it to good use. It's job it to keep your mind on the important stuff. Also, once you find a brake marker, brake for everything you are worth. Once you realize where this puts you, back on the throttle to get to the corner, you can move that brake marker further back. The other thing is to make sure that your mind is up to speed before trying to go faster, quickly.

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Old 10-17-2012, 05:47 AM   #7
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Joined: Aug 2010
From: Federal Way, WA

I Ride: in a vanpool
A friend once told me "body, brakes, gear, gas" in relation to setting up for a turn. The message was about separating these actions and minimizing the number of things you do at once while setting up. If you brake then shift the yank from downshifting should be considerably reduced so your slipper can easily take the pull. As you play around with this you should start to get a feel for which gear you need to drop to for any given corner.

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:03 AM   #8
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Joined: Feb 2010
From: Seattle, Wa

I Ride: An 06 R6 with OPRT
Depending on what year your R6 is, there are a couple mods that will help your "kinda worthless" slipper act more like it should. Flashtune can adjust how much engine braking there is, or you can do it mechanically by shaving 2 of the springs in your clutch. I'm doing flashtune because it also offers other advantages, but if you just want to have more slip, shaving the springs is what the racers do.
http://www.r6-forum.com/forums/showt...=36545&page=12

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:59 AM   #9
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Joined: Jan 2007
From: Seattle, WA

I Ride: '06 GSX-R600
I took the STAR Motorcycle School this year and it completely changed the way I think about downshifting. Take that if you can.

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Old 10-17-2012, 09:37 AM   #10
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Joined: Sep 2009
From: Spokane, Wa

I Ride: Yamaha R6
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyckedan View Post
Depending on what year your R6 is, there are a couple mods that will help your "kinda worthless" slipper act more like it should. Flashtune can adjust how much engine braking there is, or you can do it mechanically by shaving 2 of the springs in your clutch. I'm doing flashtune because it also offers other advantages, but if you just want to have more slip, shaving the springs is what the racers do.
http://www.r6-forum.com/forums/showt...=36545&page=12
does ecu unleashed do the same? I've had that done and tuned with nels but haven't played with any adjustments.

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Old 10-17-2012, 10:46 AM   #11
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Joined: Feb 2010
From: Seattle, Wa

I Ride: An 06 R6 with OPRT
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by TamiJean View Post
does ecu unleashed do the same? I've had that done and tuned with nels but haven't played with any adjustments.
I'm not sure, I don't think so, but I could be wrong. Best to call him and ask. He is also authorized to do Flashtune now as well.

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Old 10-17-2012, 10:58 AM   #12
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Joined: Mar 2006
From: medford, oregon
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by TamiJean View Post
does ecu unleashed do the same? I've had that done and tuned with nels but haven't played with any adjustments.
talk to nels at 2wheel dynoworks

listen to the podcast I did with him about UCU unleashed

and get to a track school

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Old 10-17-2012, 01:01 PM   #13
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Joined: Jan 2008
From: Muk, WA
Blog Entries: 4

I Ride: fast, except on the road.
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by rmorten View Post
A friend once told me "body, brakes, gear, gas" in relation to setting up for a turn. The message was about separating these actions and minimizing the number of things you do at once while setting up. If you brake then shift the yank from downshifting should be considerably reduced so your slipper can easily take the pull. As you play around with this you should start to get a feel for which gear you need to drop to for any given corner.
Interesting, I prefer to use the initial force from hard braking to help lift my butt off the seat and get over and my knee out to the cornering position, just seems easier and I'm lazy. I don't start down shifting until I am almost ready to turn in and I am starting to trail off the brake, this makes blipping easier. That said, I have a big twin and never need to downshift more than 2 gears, usually only one. But with no slipper, I need to be very gradual in releasing the clutch or I'll be backing it in, which I do a little sometimes.

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Old 10-17-2012, 01:46 PM   #14
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Joined: Aug 2008
From: Battle Ground, Wa.

I Ride: Not enough...
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by dawtips View Post
I took the STAR Motorcycle School this year and it completely changed the way I think about downshifting. Take that if you can.
What did you learn that changed the way you think?

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Old 10-17-2012, 02:24 PM   #15
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Joined: Sep 2012
From: Portland

I Ride: 05' GSXR600 Anniversary
On the track you need to master braking, hard, with two fingers, while blipping the throttle with the palm of your hand.

IE coming into turn 1 at PIR for example, you should be able to get on the binders hard, scrub over 100 some MPH, while dropping three gears, and doing so with the RPM's matched. 0 clutch dragging allowed, or over-revving and lurching the bike. If that sounds tough, it's really not, you just have to practice.

You should also be able to bang off a shift mid corner (not ideal) if you have to without upsetting the chassis, that means rev-matching. Very important you get it bang on or your could fuck up your line.

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Old 10-17-2012, 03:26 PM   #16
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Joined: Aug 2008
From: Lake Oswego
On the R6, clutch setup and ECU work can make you a rockstar, you can even flash a auto blipper into the R6 which will blip the throttle for you on a downshift.

Technology aside, its a skill you should learn as a rider and only tracktime and practice will cover that.

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Old 10-17-2012, 05:41 PM   #17
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Joined: Feb 2012
From: Tukwila, WA

I Ride: 2007 Ninja 650R
I'm still trying to get this down. I've had a couple scary calls and almost launched the bike from blipping the throttle and letting the clutch out wrong. So lately I've just been braking enough to the speed I want for the gear, then clutch in, and then downshift without letting off the throttle. If I do it correctly, I don't notice any lurching or drag. However, this is on the street, so I have no idea how it would translate on the track. Also, as mentioned by others, I normally engine brake and downshift to slowdown like to a light, so by the time I do come to a complete stop, I'm already in 1st gear. I'm still a noob, so I'm still learning.

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:02 PM   #18
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Joined: May 2008
From: Ross Ice Shelf

I Ride: into town a-whompin an a-whoopin
At the STAR school we learned that downshifting is one of the most overlooked aspects of riding fast.

Forget blipping. When you are truly hard on the brakes, you won't be able to do it right. None of the really fast guys (AMA, SBK, GP, etc) blip.

Downshift pretty much right away. Bang Bang Bang. This eliminates the need to blip. If you brake first and then shift you have to blip. If you downshift at the same time you don't need to.

Even if you have a slipper, you should still modulate clutch with your left hand.

Fast riders have slow hands.

There's a shitton more, but you'll have to take the school.

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:07 PM   #19
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Joined: Jul 2008
From: Kirklandia

I Ride: '10 S1000RR, '08 K1200GT
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by ezzywave View Post
What did you learn that changed the way you think?
Jason Pridmore teaches shifting down first, literally as soon as gas starts to roll off at all. He's big into engine braking and smoothly releasing the clutch to manage RPM. He advocates keeping the motor at high revs and no blipping. One byproduct of this is that you get more of your work done before the corner and you have less to think about. Also, any mistakes in shifting, and you have more time to correct.

I was using more of the Code style of brake and shift together and I found Pridmore's technique to be quite effective, especially on an I4 with a good slipper where overrevs just really aren't much of a problem.

A lot of what Pridmore teaches has to do with economy of motion, which makes sense considering his background of endurance racing.

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:27 PM   #20
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Joined: Aug 2007
From: Moscow, ID

I Ride: more often than I floss.
I don't have much to add here that hasn't already been said. I do think it's cool how many racers (even really fast ones) have chimed in on this thread already.

My primary recommendation would be to pull one of the control riders aside at the next Inland Speed track day and have them shadow you for a few laps to study exactly what you're doing as you set up for a corner. They will be able to give you lots of tips based on what they see. There's a lot of intermediate steps to get from where you are now to what Josh Hayes is doing, and I think a good instructor will be able to identify what things to work on next.

As a general practice, I blip the throttle on nearly every downshift while street riding. Not because it helps with anything I'm doing on the street (usually just coming to a stop). But it builds that practice to the point where it becomes almost automatic. Eventually this behavior becomes a natural thing that doesn't require any significant additional concentration.

I do have slipper clutches in both my R6 race bikes, and occasionally I don't blip the throttle and just let the slipper do its thing. The slipper helps a lot compared to no slipper, but even with the slipper I can feel the back stepping out a bit, so I end up divirting some attention to modulating the clutch lever in those cases. The main place I've noticed myself not blipping is entering T2 at Pacific Raceways. If I'm trying to outbrake someone I sometimes don't blip (three downshifts for my bikes).
-Dan

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